Washington— Cedric Richmond, a senior adviser to President Biden, projected optimism on Sunday that work on projects funded by the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress will begin in the coming months, saying he is “very confident” that the ground will be broken by spring.
In an interview with ‘Face the Nation,’ Richmond was asked if he agrees with President Biden’s assessment that Americans will begin to see the effects of infrastructure legislation within the next two to three months. month.
“We’re very optimistic, almost certain,” Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, told “Face the Nation.” “Remember, the president oversaw the US bailout, which we saw after the last big recession under the Obama administration that he oversaw, and it was very effective. He knows what he’s doing. “That’s his plan. We have the expertise in the administration to get it done. I’m very confident that we can do it.”
The House approved the bipartisan infrastructure bill Friday night, ending a months-long stalemate as Democrats haggled over details of Mr. Biden. House Progressives had been pushing for the two bills to pass Congress on parallel tracks and threatened to derail the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, but eventually agreed to push it through by the House after receiving a pledge from the moderates to support the social spending measure once they receive a budget analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.
Because the Senate passed the infrastructure bill in August, the measure is now heading to Mr. Biden’s desk for his signature.
House approval of the physical infrastructure plan marks a key legislative milestone for the president, as it is a crucial pillar of his domestic policy agenda and comes as his administration works to address backlogs supply chain and rising consumer prices. Mr Biden said in remarks from the White House on Saturday that the bill is a “once-in-a-generation investment” that will create jobs, upgrade the country’s crumbling infrastructure and fight climate change.
The package includes $550 billion in new spending, including $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for railways. It also sets aside $65 billion for broadband and $55 billion for drinking water investments.
Richmond said the physical infrastructure bill will also reduce supply chain bottlenecks and inflationary pressures, and create jobs.
“We know we have the workers there and we are going to start fixing the crumbling infrastructure of this nation,” he said.
Richmond also dismissed criticism that Democrats are unwilling to acknowledge the economic problems facing the country, namely inflation and a recent decline in labor force participation, but said the policy agenda Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda aims to ensure continued economic recovery.
“The president has recognized that some prices are going up, and we’re going to deal with that, which is why this bill was so critical and the Build Back Better bill,” he said. “The president and his economy are on the right track. I think his three-pronged approach has always been correct: the bailout, the infrastructure plan and the human capital plan are all essential to continue to move this forward. economy in the right direction.”
That of Mr. Bidenis expected to get a vote in the House later this month, though it is set to get a major overhaul in the Senate. The president unveiled a revamped framework last month, dramatically slashing his original $3.5 trillion price tag to assuage the concerns of two moderate Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Among the proposals scrapped in the revised framework were 12 weeks of paid family leave and free community college, though the House reinstated the paid family and medical leave provision in its own bill last week.
Richmond said the White House had “always gone to the mat” for paid family leave, but acknowledged it currently lacks the support of 50 Senate Democrats, which is needed for the package to clear the chamber. high.
“We see paid, paid medical leave as a value proposition because we know what families go through in this country when children and family members get sick,” he said. “The president knows it personally, I know it personally, the administration knows it personally.”